|Huka Falls - looking south|
|Huka Falls - looking North|
|Looking out to Wairakei Thermal Power Station (R) and the Huka Park Activity Centre (L)|
|Aratiatia Dam and Rapids - before the gates are lifted|
|Aratiatia Dam and Rapids - starting to fill|
|View in front of look out point - before|
|View in front of the lookout point - filling|
The hiking part of my holiday occurred on our second day away. We decided to walk the Huka Falls to Aratiatia Rapids, both two of my favourite places to visit when I am in Taupo, the only difference is that we usually drive to them. In reality this is an easy 7 km (4.35 miles) walk - one way, we decided to make it a return trip, Starting at the beautiful Huka Falls, we walked through native bush, then followed a track following the Waikato River, not next to it mind you, inland and about 5km of it was in open flat land, hardly a tree in sight for shade, which made it very difficult on the return trip, as it was one of the hottest days this summer. Needless to say we were very pleased to get to the shaded bush area at Huka Falls upon completion of our activities.
The Aratiatia Rapids were once a natural feature on the Waikato River, however once the Aratiatia Dam was built the flow was stopped. Three or four times a day, depending on the time of year, the dam gates are opened to release the water pressure, in doing so they recreate the famous rapids. As this happens the Waikato River falls 28m in the space of 1 km. We saw the empty gorge fill and churn.as the water flowed out the gates and down the narrow gorge.
Both the Huka Falls and Aratitatia Rapids are well worth a visit at any time of the year.